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Open Access Publications from the University of California

"What Are You Thinking?": Understanding Teacher Reading and Response Through a Protocol Analysis Study

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This article discusses results of a semester-long study on how composition teachers read and respond to student writing. Using protocol and textual analysis, along with interviews, the study focused on composition teacher reading strategies and what influences these teachers as the read and respond to student writing. From analysis of the data, I found that composition teachers employed multiple reading strategies while responding to student texts, and these strategies were often influenced by contextual factors related to the classroom, student-teacher relationships, past preparation in the teaching of writing, and nonacademic influences. I argue that the field of composition needs to devote more attention to how teachers read student papers and how these readings influence the comments we offer to students about their writing through stronger teacher preparation programs and by expanding our dialogues about response to include a focus on how teachers read student papers.

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